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Full text of "The Ayer idea in advertising"

THE AYER IDEA 
IN ADVERTISING 



y -f 



THE 

AYER IDEA 

IN ADVERTISING 




Tuhlished hy 
N.W.AYER (sP SON 

PHILADELPHIA 

ISTE-W YORK-BOSTON 
CHICAGO -CLEVELAND 



Copyrighted 1912 

N. W. AVER & SON 
Philadelphia, Pa. 




^ Siol3d 
FOREWORD 

S WE write there are two 
hundred and thirty-five ad- 
vertising agencies in the 
United States. Ere these 
words are done into type 
there will probably be more — or less. 
Every year sees many starters — a few suc- 
ceed; some hang on; most fail. Forty- 
three of these changing, shifting years 
have slipped past since N. W. Ayer & Son 
made its beginning. For at least a quar- 
ter of a century no person well-informed 
about advertising has seriously disputed 
the right of this house to the title of 
leadership in the advertising business. 

We claim the distinction of serving 
the largest number of advertisers and a 
number of the largest advertisers. We have 
more small accounts, more medium-sized 
accounts and more large accounts than 
any other agency — we cover more kinds 
of legitimate commercial enterprise and 
have broader relations with a greater 
variety of publications and other forms of 
advertising media than any other concern 
engaged in similar work. 



8 THE AYER IDEA 

All this is not the result of luck. It 
does not just "happen'* to be so. 

The thought that many present and 
prospective advertisers will be interested 
in knowing the policies and methods 
which have given the Ayer agency the 
unquestioned position of Advertising 
Headquarters prompts the production of 
this modest volume. 



TO NON 'BELIEVERS 




HERE are men who do 
not believe in advertising 
— good men and wise, but 
that signifies naught. It 
is but a brief while since 

-^ many men believed that 

the earth was flat, but it was round all 
the time. The earth did not change its 
shape; men merely altered their views. 
The point of it all is that there are estab- 
lished facts in business just as there are 
established facts in nature and belief or 
disbehef does not change the facts. 

Suppose, for instance, you were to say 
"I do not beheve in darkness; I do not 
want darkness. '* Will it not grow dark 
tonight quite the same as though you were 
heartily in favor of it? 

You may not like the telephone or 
typewriter or adding machine — thousands 
of persons do not — but these are estab- 



10 THE AYER IDEA 

lished instruments in today's activities and 
your feelings will not alter the facts. To 
refuse to use them stamps you as being 
behind the times, and competition with 
the man or business which does use them 
is no longer possible for the man or busi- 
ness which does not use them. 

The time has passed for giving serious 
attention to the man who does not believe 
in advertising. Advertising is as much a 
part of today's life as electricity, antiseptic 
surgery or trolley traction. 

The system under which he who has 
something to sell tells about it to those 
who do or should use it, is a proven, es- 
tablished, actual fact and no single fact 
has ever yet been whipped by an army of 
opinions. 

Broadly speaking, it is easier and more 
profitable to obey the Law than to try to 
break it. If it is a good Law it cannot 
be resisted. Tackle the Law of Gravity, 
for instance, and see how far you get with 
your opposition. 

The Law of Demand is just as sane, 
just as certain and just as natural as the 



IN ADVERTISING II 

Law of Gravity. Both work day and 
night, weekdays, holidays and Sundays 
and they always pull downward. 

Down at the bottom of all commer- 
cial success there is Demand insistently 
tugging away. If Demand can be cir- 
cumscribed and focused and tied to your 
product, you have done a big thing and 
middlemen by the score can no more 
stand against it than can a few layers of 
fleecy cloud keep Gravity from accom- 
plishing its effective work. 

This is no preachment against the 
powerful importance of the wholesale or 
retail merchant. The manufacturer who 
neglects the dealer in any advertising cam- 
paign he may inaugurate is indeed lacking 
in foresight. 

"Forcing the trade'' to carry a line 
has long since given way to better meth- 
ods. Co-operation is better than coercion. 
But as a foundation for success nothing 
can take the place of a powerful con- 
sumers' demand. 

No one can want anything until he 
knows of its existence and its fitness for 



12 THE AYER IDEA 

filling his requirements. Advertising is a 
way by which people are told why they 
should have your goods and, at the same 
time, taught how they may identify them. 

The method is backed by good logic 
and good sense — just the same sort of 
plain, prosaic business reasoning which is 
required in any other line of work. 

There is nothing magical or myste- 
rious about it and the greatest advertising 
successes have been singularly free from 
the frills and furbelows with which some 
advertising men seek to invest this plain- 
est and simplest aid to present day mer- 
chandise distribution. 





THE ADVERTISING 
AGENCY 

HE fact that an extremely 
large percentage of all gen- 
eral and national advertising 
(as differentiated from retail 
and local advertising) is 
handled by advertising agencies would 
seem to provide ample proof of the value 
of the agency system, but further proof is 
at hand. The rightly conducted adverti- 
sing agency is a high development of the 
idea of master and servant or principal and 
agent, worked out along advanced lines. 

A good advertising agency furnishes a 
truly wonderful exemplification of the 
thought that in dealing with many special 
interests an intelligent and honest general 
interest can make itself worth its cost. 

A good doctor represents a general 
interest. When a man is ill there are 
many kinds of medication in which he 
might indulge, but a competent physician 



14 THE AYER IDEA 

knows and understands all of these various 
remedies and after considering the condi- 
tion of his patient prescribes the treatment 
best suited to the case. 

When a man becomes involved in legal 
difficulties there may be many lines of 
evidence along which he can develop his 
case, but a good lawyer justifies his exist- 
ence by considering all of these ways and 
means and then advising his client which 
to adopt. 

When a man considers advertising he 
will find many excellent mediums await- 
ing his use and the special interests of 
each are promoted by a corps of able sales- 
men ready with proof that its particular 
method and plan is the one best suited to 
the prospective advertiser's needs. Right 
here a good advertising agency justifies its 
existence by its knowledge of all the spe- 
cial claims made and its capacity to advise 
its client what to do and what not to do. 

There are few representatives of indi- 
vidual publications who are in a position 
to make intelligent comparisons between 
their own and other publications. 



IN ADVERTISING 15 

Business is not a sanitarium and no 
one is in business for his health. The 
advertising agent is no more free from 
this business bias than is the representa- 
tive of an individual publication, but the 
publisher's representative makes his bread 
and butter by securing advertising for his 
paper while the advertising agent makes 
his by developing an advertiser, and this 
is best accomplished by placing the busi- 
ness in the publication that will best pay 
the advertiser. 

The relation of the modern adverti- 
sing agency to its clients is widely different 
from what it was in the beginning. The 
attitude has been altered by a process of 
improvement to meet changing condi- 
tions. 

There was a time when the adverti- 
sing agent was the special agent of the 
publisher, and he very naturally placed 
business with the publications which gave 
him the highest reward in the form of a 
commission. But from the beginning of 
its business, this house has advocated a 
principle diametrically opposed to that 



16 THE AYER IDEA 

practice, and today it is quite generally- 
recognized that the advertising agent who 
most helpfully serves the advertiser, ad- 
vising him how to proceed, securing for 
his use the most effective space, assuring 
him of absolutely lowest prices and charg- 
ing him a commission for the service 
rendered, is the one who deserves, and is 
accorded, greatest consideration by repu- 
table publishers. 

At one time a Count was a man in 
charge of a count of five hundred per- 
sons, to whom he was a sort of over-lord. 
This is not true today because of altered 
political conditions. We still have Counts, 
but the Count business has changed some- 
what. 

A carpenter today is a man who works 
in wood. Twenty centuries ago there were 
carpenters in the Holy Land, but most of 
the houses there are of stone. At that 
time carpentry evidently embraced the 
work of a stone mason. The word ** car- 
penter" means something different today. 
It is all the result of changed social and 
labor conditions. 



IN ADVERTISING 17 

A few centuries ago the word "idiot** 
meant a member of the Roman citizenry. 
Citizens in general would resent the de- 
scription that the word conveys today. 
We still have idiots — it is a very handy 
word to have in one's vocabulary — but 
its application is entirely different from 
the olden days. 

We want to make it very plain to you 
that the idea — the business — once de- 
scribed by the words "advertising agency" 
has undergone a complete change. 

We like to think of our business as a 
sort of Association of National Advertisers 
who have entrusted their interests to our 
care. We are agents. Where there is 
an agent there must be a principal. If 
there is any advantage secured by an 
honest agent, that advantage will in turn 
be passed on to the principal. 

Do you not see that under our plan 
of operation the larger and more influen- 
tial and more successful we become, the 
better it is for each of the principals who 
through the giving of his business to us 
contributes to our development? 



18 THE AYER IDEA 

If a hundred men wished to invest in 
an apple orchard in Oregon they would 
do well to seek a competent and honest 
person and pool their interests with him, 
giving him great powers to work for them. 
The more honest and experienced he is, 
the more power he should have and the 
more to their advantage he will use it. 

This would be a much cheaper and 
generally more satisfactory method than 
for all of the hundred men to journey to 
far away Oregon and there employ their 
own judgment in the consummation of a 
business deal for which they have no 
peculiar fitness or training. 

We are sure that the idea is sound and 
in this agency its application is sincere. 
It does not appeal to the type of man 
who is suspicious nor to one who is desirous 
of getting something for nothing. And 
that sort of business man appeals to us just 
as little as our methods appeal to him. 

The development of this thought, 
however, has brought us the cleanest, 
strongest and most loyal clientele in the 
world — has enabled us to give a nation- 



IN ADVERTISING ig 

wide service, has received the endorsement 
of the really v^^orth -while publishers and 
has made our business characterful and 
strong with the strength of rightness. 





THE UNIVERSALITY 
OF ADVERTISING 

NY commodity or service for 
which there is a demand, or 
for which there may be cre- 
ated a demand, is advertisable. 
The range of industry now 
profiting through pubHcity is exceedingly 
wide, and commercial America is just be- 
ginning to realize the possibilities of the 
printed page as an aid in its affairs. Schools 
agricultural implements - pickles - gelatine 
pens - pencils - perfume -suspenders-clothing 
shoes -tobacco -cotton gins- coal- pa per 
portable houses-insurance-curtains-skates 
canaries - telephone and telegraph service 
candies-fish-blankets- towels-scrapple 
pumps-parrots -church bells -soft drinks 
motors-stoves-overalls-mattresses-cheese 
voting machines -aeroplanes-furnaces-oil 
water-adding ma chines- paints- engines 
boats-roofing-mail boxes- guns-sheeting 
and pillow cases-pianos- gloves -almanacs 



IN ADVERTISING 21 

bees -honey - fertilizers - books - railroads 
steamships - waffle irons - bonds - lye - coffee 
cocoa- chocolate - automobiles - butter - ties 
bread- underwear - hosiery - chafing dishes 
watches -baseballs -silks -hooks and eyes 
dress fabrics - linings - rings - salt - crackers 
hammocks - tools - laces - flour - cigars - rugs 
milk - hats - collars - shirts - scales - fruit jars 
lamps- typewriters - silverware - soups - teas 
ice cream freezers - baskets- trees - root 
beer -coffee -spices -so da fountains -soaps 
pajamas - chewing gum - molasses - cows 
stationery-furniture - breakfast foods - seeds 
flowers — all these things and many, many 
more are being exploited by us through 
advertising, and successfully, too — in 
yearly campaigns ranging in amount from 
fifty to a million dollars. 

It is difficult for one not associated 
with the advertising business to correctly 
measure the influence of advertising upon 
the very existence of the average man. 

What a nation eats and wears — its 
pleasures, comforts and home conditions 
— these questions are being settled by the 
modern economic force called Advertising. 



22 THE AYER IDEA 

A man is captive to his prejudices. 
You have a prejudice in favor of your 
brother — there are milUons of men just 
as good as he, but in your mind he is 
superior. 

You have a prejudice for a piece of 
music, for a religious doctrine, for a polit- 
ical belief; there are many men who most 
admire another melody, or hold another 
religious faith, or are devotees of another 
political party. 

These prejudices are put into our 
minds through a system of education. 

We are born into a family and grow 
up surrounded by its members and through 
the years are educated to have a prejudice 
for our own kin. 

We hear an opera and something in its 
melodious expression finds something kin- 
dred in our souls, and we become prejudiced 
in favor of that particular musical motif. 

Through training, through reading, 
through conversation and association with 
our fellows we become believers in a cer- 
tain religious creed and adherents of a 
particular political doctrine. 



IN ADVERTISING 23 

Of nothing may you be surer than 
that prejudice may be put into the human 
mind through the intelligent use of print- 
ers' ink. 

People acquire a favorable prejudice 
for that which they read about, hear 
about, know about; and if these things 
about which they are told measure up to 
their expectations they become lodged 
with their other prejudices and have an 
advantage over articles of a similar nature 
for which no such favorable prejudice 
exists. (^There is no quicker and more 
certain method of promoting the sale of 
anything than by advertising it along cor- 
rect lines. ^1 

Someone has said that if bread and 
butter were new inventions they would 
have to be advertised before people would 
accept them as standard articles of food. 

{ Marvelous as are the possibilities of 
advertising, it is a fact not to be disputed 
that probably half of the tremendous sum 
yearly invested in advertising is practically 
wasted because the effort is made along 



24 THE AYER IDEA 

lines which for various reasons cannot 
possibly prove effective^ 

We have tried to develop an organi- 
zation to minimize the possibilities of fail- 
ure. We state, with the utmost frankness 
that we have learned from the mistakes 
which we have made. 

We believe that there is no other 
advertising house so closely in touch with 
industrial, commercial, and publishing 
conditions in every part of the country as 
is ours. 

We make eight or ten thousand busi- 
ness calls per year, and during the last 
twelve months representatives of our 
house have visited almost every state in 
the Union. 

Mark you these men are our represent- 
atives — they are not solicitors. Not one 
of them draws a commision for getting an 
account. Not one of them ever suffered 
a decrease in salary because he lost an ac- 
count. They are engaged to carry on the 
good fight to win converts to the Ayer 
Idea, but are under instructions that before 
a man's business we want his respect and 



IN ADVERTISING 25 

confidence, and that if we cannot have 
these, his business is not desired. 

We have here a great, throbbing, 
highly systematized and intelligently 
organized business for seeking, classifying 
and applying selling sense. 

The business which will not be bet- 
tered by this contact is not wanted. The 
business man who refuses to see the 
advantage of an alliance with Advertising 
Headquarters would never be happy here 
and never make us happy while here. 

We call to mind a fountain pen man- 
ufacturer who said to one of our repre- 
sentatives: '*If business men generally 
knew what the Ayer organization could 
do for them you would simply have to 
select your clients.'' 

We appreciate the compliment, but 
would like to make plain the difficulty 
that a house such as ours meets in its 
effort to explain to business men its system 
of service. 

The American business man is over- 
solicited by advertising men and over- 
solicitation always brings over-promising. 



26 THE AYER IDEA 

Let it become known that a concern con- 
templates an advertising campaign and 
immediately a swarm of the ablest, most 
highly trained solicitors that the business 
world has ever seen calls to explain what 
their various houses can accomplish. 

. This prospective advertiser has heard 
of great advertising successes and through 
the solicitation which he now receives he 
gets a badly exaggerated point of view as 
to what advertising might do for him 
and his business. 

Unless he possesses an extremely level 
head he is apt to award the business on 
the basis of what has been promised. 
This is most unfortunate and one of the 
chief contributing causes to the waste of 
advertising investment. 

( Advertising cannot make a success of 
a poorly managed business, and most bus- 
inesses which have succeeded through 
advertising had within them the capacity 
to succeed without advertising. Adverti- 
sing shortens the time and emphasizes 
the success. \ 



IN ADVERTISING 27 

There are advertising experts galore 
who can fairly hypnotize a business man 
with their fascinating fables of success — 
there are business writers of the highest 
literary skill whose facile pens weave 
wordy wisdom with little or no effort — 
but (advertising really consists of more 
than ardent solicitation or beautiful phrase 
making^ 

Business men are asked every day to 
invest great sums in the promotion of 
some plan, the father of which has not 
made a success of his own business and 
who is not entitled to the business respect 
and business endorsement of the men 
whose money he solicits. 

Would you trust a broker who was 
notoriously incompetent to manage his 
own affairs to advise you with reference 
to your investment? 

Would you in any other division of 
your business turn over a thousand or a 
hundred thousand dollars to some man 
with as poor a record for personal integ- 
rity and business success as is possessed by 
many of those who daily succeed in secur- 



28 THE AYER IDEA 

ing the handling of large advertising 
appropriations? 

The Universality of Advertising is ad- 
mitted — the all embracing possibilities of 
publicity in the promotion of merchandise 
cannot be gainsaid — the wonderful power 
of constructive advertising is but begin- 
ning to be understood — but the greatest 
disadvantage under which advertising 
labors today is that business men, shrewd, 
cautious and conservative in other lines, 
seem to forget the value of these same 
qualities when entering upon the expen- 
sive and powerful activity called '*Adver- 
tising/' 





SCIENTIFIC SELLING 

HE commercial world is alive 
to the possibilities of scien- 
tific manufacturing. Great 
strides are being made in the 
application of a set of 
principles so sincere and simple that their 
value is not open to doubt. Scientific 
management is opening the way for 
greater efficiency and greater economy in 
production. i 

The production of an article, how- 
ever, is but one of the processes through 
which it must go, and the giant task is 
today and always has been to find the best 
method of distributing what is produced. 
> Distribution frequently costs more 
than production. Dollars will go further 
in their purchasing power and standards 
of living will be generally enhanced in 
just the proportion that distribution is 
simplified and economized.^ 

(Students of economic conditions are 



30 THE AYER DDEA 

convinced that the American system of 
selling has been extremely wasteful and 
manufacturers in many lines are now ear- 
nestly considering not only what they 
may do to organize their production on 
the most scientific basis, but also how 
they may lessen the cost of selling and 
thereby make a greater profit, or give the 
consumer the advantage of a better article 
for the same money or the same article 
for less money .3 

( Intelligent advertising is a powerful aid 
in the solution of this vexatious problem J 

^It requires effort to sell goods and 
salesmen must be paid for making this 
effort. A merchant buys goods to sell 
them. He is interested in profit and re- 
tailing has long since reached the point 
where quick sales with small profits are 
more highly regarded than slow sales 
with large profits. \ 

(The merchant realizes that well adver- 
tised goods are partially sold and that his 
trade, although the profit per sale may be 
slightly less, is certain to be more brisk 
on goods of this character .\ 



IN ADVERTISING 31 

The salesman who can offer to his 
trade a line of merchandise which is 
widely known and for which there exists 
a favorable prejudice can sell his wares 
with less effort than if he were handling 
an unknown article. 

The manufacturer who is paying sales- 
men for making a sales effort obviously 
has to pay less price for less effort. And 
this condition does not work against the 
salesman. He can cover more territory, 
get a better hearing and in the long run 
make more money. 

The scientific ideal endorses a straight 
line as the shortest distance between two 
points. 

If a railroad is to be constructed from 
one city to another the engineering ideal 
is an air line; but, of course, grades must 
be leveled, streams crossed, other towns 
taken into consideration, and a practical 
building of the road means a departure 
from the ideal. 

In merchandising we have a parallel 
case — the man who makes something and 
the man who wants something. The sell- 



32 THE AYER IDEA 

ing ideal is a straight route from one of 
these men to the other. But there are 
jobbers, retailers, competitors and market 
conditions to be considered and in practi- 
cal selling all these elements must be given 
due attention. 

Advertising, however, provides a short 
route by which the man who makes some- 
thing may tell about it to the man who 
wants such an article, and if enough persons 
are told and taught, they will make their 
desires felt through the retailer and the 
jobber. The manufacturer then gets his 
reward because he has his mark on his 
goods and he alone can supply them. 

His salesmen find it less difficult to 
sell the goods and through this process, 
wisely conceived and courageously con- 
ducted, many a business is bringing about 
a much more wholesome condition in its 
selling. 

Business men are learning that it is 
better and cheaper and economically more 
sound to get the bulk of trade in a given 
line by identifying their merchandise and 
creating for it a wide demand. 



IN ADVERTISING 33 

It is not illegal or illegitimate to raise a 
business beyond the pale of competition by 
such methods and approach to a monopoly 
can frequently be built along these lines. 

If the man at the head of such a 
business sees with a clear vision and does 
not unwisely take too great advantage of 
the position thus secured, the people at 
large will be the direct beneficiaries of his 
activities, big businesses will be spared from 
pernicious molestation and all of the 
advantages of great production and scien- 
tific distribution may be realized. 

It appears reasonable to us that the 
largest, oldest and most highly organized 
advertising house in the world is probably 
in a superior position to furnish counsel 
and assistance to business men who are con- 
fronted with such problems. It is a note- 
worthy fact that we have been conspicu- 
ously successful in developing, frequently 
from small beginnings, some very large 
advertising accounts with manufacturers of 
staple commodities and corporations offer- 
ing for sale services of a public or semi- 
public nature. 




MAKING A START 

lE have no desire to disturb 
friendly relations between 
any advertiser and his agent. 
Our advice to an advertiser 
is that he first select an agent, 
then give the agent his confidence, discuss 
with him all of the intimate problems of 
the business, and take the agent's advice. 
If he is proceeding along such lines and his 
advertising is successful, he should reject 
the solicitation of other agents and make 
it plain to them that he is satisfied with 
his present connection. 

We are particularly interested in the 
beginner in advertising. Our services are 
naturally of peculiar advantage to him 
because our wide experience has taught us 
many things which mean the saving of 
time and money if he will follow our 
advice. 

It may truly be said that the success 
we have accomplished for our clients has 



IN ADVERTISING 35 

come quite frequently through our ability 
to discover in a business something not 
apparent to the ownership — something 
which is really very much bigger and more 
important than what is commonly called 
"advertising/' 

The important point at this stage of 
the transaction is not merely to find how 
advertising may be done, but to find if 
conditions in the business to be advertised 
are in harmony with an advertising pro- 
gram. 

There must be a sales policy and it 
must bear proper relationship to the gen- 
eral business. It is of equal necessity that 
advertising, to be successful, shall be in- 
augurated and carried forward with the 
right regard for these conditions. 

At the start we regard such matters as 
copy, media and rates as entirely subordinate 
to some of the fundamental principles 
which must be discovered and observed. 

New advertisers, and many advertising 
agents, are apt to place too much impor- 
tance on the questions whether this picture 
or that picture shall be used, whether this 



36 THE AYER IDEA 

publication or that publication shall be 
employed, whether a certain kind of copy 
or another kind shall be run. 

These are all matters of very great 
importance as is the question of how much 
space shall be used and other questions of 
a similar nature, but all of them may most 
properly be taken up after an advertising 
policy and a definite advertising determina- 
tion have been created. They should then 
express this policy and determination. 

Our primary desire is to bring about 
such a relation between our house and the 
advertiser that we shall be in a position to 
point out advertising difficulties and not 
suffer because of our candor. We do not, 
therefore, seek to compete with others in 
an attempt to alluringly delineate the pos- 
sibilities of advertising, preparing adverti- 
sing material to be passed upon by the 
advertiser, who quite likely because of 
inexperience is not yet in a position to 
decide such matters. 

We wish to be so related to you that 
you will not hide from us the real facts — 
the weakness as well as the strength of 



IN ADVERTISING 37 

your business — that we, in turn, may have 
a fair opportunity to tell you truthfully 
what your business condition requires. We 
cannot do this if we are under the neces- 
sity of presenting a plan more pleasing to 
you than that which has been presented 
by others. 

Advertising is the most fascinating of 
businesses. It is intangible and indefinite. 
There have been so many advertising suc- 
cesses that any man can prove anything 
about any method. 

There is so much half-knowledge float- 
ing about that few men are in a position 
to decide which advertising success is a 
success because of the advertising, and 
which a success in spite of the advertising. 
Business men starting in this untried field 
need honest, reliable advice. 

Do not reason that because your appro- 
priation is small you will give it to some 
friend or acquaintance, and after you have 
become a bigger advertiser you will seek 
a bigger agency if you then feel the need 
of such services. 

By very virtue of the fact that your 



38 THE AYER IDEA 

appropriation is small, it should be plain 
to you that you need at the beginning the 
best advertising assistance. 

If your appropriation were large 
enough, you might pull out with poor 
assistance; but at the start, when so many 
problems are to be solved, and it is so 
highly important that mistakes be avoided, 
you especially need the guidance and 
counsel of advertising men of proven in- 
tegrity and ability. 

Do not be led astray by the braggarts 
of the business who from time to time 
announce some new way of assuring adverti- 
sing success. 

Today these concerns are telling of 
one particular method. Last year they 
were telling of another. The year before 
they had an entirely different panacea. 

Learn how many of the accounts they 
secured by their marvelous patent process 
of success three years ago are with them 
today. 

Not long since we advised a new adver- 
tiser with reference to his first expenditure. 
He replied that he had no reason to believe 



IN ADVERTISING 39 

that our advice was not good, but that he 
had observed that it had been given with- 
out what he considered a proper amount 
of investigation on our part. 

This man, by taking such an attitude, 
placed a premium on ignorance. 

We presume if he were to be operated 
upon for appendicitis he would not engage 
a surgeon who by his past experience was 
competent to handle the case without any 
further reading or study, but that he 
would employ a doctor who would have 
to undergo an elaborate series of investiga- 
tions in order to equip himself with the 
skill and experience necessary to perform 
such an operation. 

While this advertiser indulged his pen- 
chant for investigation, one of his leading 
competitors undertook a publicity cam- 
paign quite along the lines that we had 
advised and gained all of the profit that 
comes from being a pioneer. 

No advertising agent has any right to 
advise the expenditure of another man's 
money without basing that advice upon 
information and experience. But a house 



40 THE AYER IDEA 

such as ours has gathered knowledge from 
a good many advertising experiences and 
has through its wide-flung organization 
almost immediate access to facts and sta- 
tistics of dependable character. 

It is an incident in our business to 
make all kinds of investigations with refer- 
ence to consumer, retailer, jobber and 
competitive manufacturers. It is very 
rarely that an advertiser even knows of such 
work. 

Our whole theory is to seek clients on 
the basis of our record of success, and then 
extend to the clients thus obtained the 
broadest and most modern advertising and 
selling service available; rather than to seek 
advertising orders and try to get them by 
a cheap and tawdry display of special in- 
formation or mis-information cooked up 
to satisfy the advertiser. 

Please bear in mind that a gold-brick 
always looks good. It has to. Its super- 
ficial appearance is its sole virtue. We 
are perfectly willing to admit that we are 
out-promised every day; but we try to 
make performance square with promise. 




tions, 
follies. 



THE DAWN OF A 
BETTER DAY 

E have traveled forty-three 
years along the advertising 
road and in that time we 
have seen the rise and fall 
of many advertising institu- 
advertising ideas and advertising 
We have tried the best we knew 
to contribute semewhat to advertising 
development, and it is a matter of personal 
pleasure to us to note the growth of other 
advertising agencies which are working 
along the lines that we have preached and 
tried to practice. 

It is a significant fact that advertising 
is proving anew the old adage that "the 
right will prevail/' and there never was a 
time in all the history of the business when 
it was so apparent that a better and larger 
success comes to the concern which works 
with uplifting and upbuilding methods. 
It is no discredit to the great profes- 



42 THE AYER IDEA 

sion of medicine that many men unfitted 
for its practice appear and for a brief while 
flourish, and indeed, that some charlatans 
wax wealthy and seem to find permanent 
success. 

It is no reflection on banking that get- 
rich-quick financial schemes are from time 
to time inaugurated and that some men 
transiently succeed in these unholy en- 
deavors. 

It argues nothing against the legal pro- 
fession, the ministry or any other worthy 
line of endeavor that from time to time 
these callings are besmirched by the activi- 
ties of a few unworthy men who are more 
or less successful. 

Advertising during all of its days has 
been a peculiar sufferer from many of its 
practitioners. In its beginnings it was 
unworthily used in the promotion of almost 
every sort of fraud, and people came to 
look askance upon anything that was adver- 
tised; but in these latter days it has acquired 
a new dignity and new strength, and the 
better publishers and cleaner agencies are 
all concentrating their efforts in the 



IN ADVERTISING 43 

direction that means more power and more 
credit to advertising. 

We have a belief that American busi- 
ness is facing a better day, that the national 
conscience has been quickened, that sin- 
cerity and honesty pay bigger dividends 
today than ever before, and their rew^ard 
tomorrow will be even greater. 

(We have a conviction, born of wide 
observation, that an increasingly large 
number of business men are in the future 
going to tie to something sane and sub- 
stantial in advertising.^ 

We have a feeling that the advertising 
organization which gave the best expres- 
sion of itself and received its highest en- 
dorsement from publishers and advertisers 
in its forty-third year, will not go wrong 
in its forty-fourth, or forty-fifth, or fiftieth 
year. 

(^We have a theory that the more busi- 
ngs men there are who know about the 
Ayer Idea in Advertising, the more busi- 
//ness. men there will be who will use the 
^Ay^Method of Advertising. 

We close this volume with an open 



44 



THE AYER IDEA 



invitation to any business man who has 
been interested in its reading and who is 
not satisfied with his advertising, or who 
has not yet tried advertising as an aid to his 
business, to advise us, that we may call 
upon him and discuss the subject more in 
detail.